Monday, June 28, 2010

This time of day always reminds me of baseball practice when I was in Little League.  The first year I was a member of the team but didn't contribute too much.  I was the kid they stuck out in right field and only for the minimum time.  I'll admit it, I was really bad.  I didn't know how to hit the ball and only got hit by the ball when standing in the batter's box.  For some reason I knew what to do when I got on base so the coach would send me in to bat when he needed a runner on first.  I would get hit by the ball, of course, and then I was able to advance to the next base like one of the kids who knew what they were doing.  My Mom and Dad asked me if I wanted to play a second year and I thought about it and said yes.  My Dad said that if I were to devote time to it that it should be quality time and he was willing to let help me all I needed.  Dad asked me what position I wanted to play and, like most kids of that day, said "pitcher".  He measured the regulation distance from the top of the mound to the plate in our yard and we started.  The rules were if I threw a wild pitch, I was chasing it.  I chased thousands of baseballs over the course of Dad's spring training camp and he quickly realized that I needed to have a strike zone to pitch to.  Mom became my strike zone.  I remember how hard it was getting used to someone standing (first on the right, then on the left) next to the plate.  Mom got hit by quite a few errant throws and she hobbled home on a badly bruised and throbbing ankle once.  When it came time for try-outs I registered as a pitcher with the hopes that I wouldn't get laughed at too badly.  After I threw a few warm-up pitches a small crowd of coaches gathered around (I figured they needed the comic relief) and I was chosen for one of the teams.  Through the course of the season I started as many games that the league would allow and played short stop on off days.  In one game my catcher misjudged a pitch and the ball struck the thick part of the mitt and broke his thumb.  As they took him to the hospital the game continued and they pulled another catcher from center field.  While he was getting his gear on, a parent kept my arm warm by catching pitches from me.  Since the mask wouldn't fit he caught without it and you guessed it... a pitch tipped the top of the glove and broke his nose.  I was so shook up that I walked the next 2 batters.  We ended up in first place that year but my reward was given to me before the season started.  All the quality time with my Dad in our yard.  Have you ever pitched a perfect game? 

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